Now it's no laughing matter, but for years there were pranks

By Dan Steinberg
Friday, January 8, 2010

Gilbert Arenas's never-realized cartoon series was going to be called "Gazo the Pranksta," starring a group of high school pranksters. Inside the stuffed animal promoting the show was a note that began like this: "Hypocrites, fools and the oversensitive beware."

The pranks and jokes and japes and escapades certainly became part of the Agent Zero allure, and I did as much as anyone to glorify them. And no, I'm not suggesting that any of this stuff warrants the current characterizations of Gilbert as a thug or villain; he's neither. But I do think you could have predicted that at least one prank would end very badly.

An old Sports Illustrated profile of Gilbert told the tale of Gilbert sneaking into Chris Mills's house to steal his prized Fran Tarkenton jersey, then wiping his food-covered hands all over the jersey.

"Talk about someone getting choked. I got choked for like five minutes," Arenas told the magazine. "It was funny, though."

There was the one stunt where he filled Andray Blatche's bathtub with coffee during a road trip. And the one where he chucked a full bottle of Gatorade at a teammate's moving car. And the one where he dumped coffee on teammates' mattresses. And the one where he took the keys to Nick Young's Land Rover during a road trip, mailed them back to D.C., and had a friend make off with the car. And the one where he would cut up his teammates' suits in the locker room.

The Oklahoman reported that he used "players' cellphones to send inappropriate text messages." The San Jose Mercury News once asked Warriors teammates for Arenas's craziest stunt. Mills told the paper about how Arenas would rip up playing cards on the team plane. And Antawn Jamison chose a "prank in Chicago, where he threw all the towels in the shower so that rookies Mike Dunleavy and Jiri Welsch had none to dry off. Then he started a snowball fight on the team bus."

The Tucson Citizen reported that Gilbert often played pranks on super-serious Arizona teammate Gene Edgerson, "creating tension between the two." Jason Gardner was once asked about Gilbert's pranks at Arizona, and refused to go there.

"It could mean a little trouble for Gilbert," Gardner said. "Maybe even cause him not to start."

Then there was the famous paintball shootout involving Gilbert and Blatche and his various friends, which Gilbert retold on his blog.

"They started to bail and jumped back over the wall," Arenas wrote. "But one of the kids was a little too heavy. His name is Jamar. That's 'Dray's cousin. Jamar couldn't get over the wall because Jamar has been eating one too many Twinkies.

"So Jamar got stuck in my yard with the five of us. We gave him the chance to walk out like a man, or cry like a girl. He did both. He cried like a little girl while he was walking and running while we were shooting paintballs at him. I told him, 'Hey, come in the lion's den, you're bound to get hit.' They said that he got hit so many times that he had trouble putting his clothes on the next day."

And then there was the time that Javaris Crittenton was traded to the Wizards.

"Crittenton even was given a pair of sneakers in Wizards team colors by Arenas," the Associated Press recounted. "Asked whether he was worried about notorious jokester Arenas setting him up with some sort of prank, Crittenton smiled. 'I've heard about Gil,' Crittenton said, 'but I don't think he'll do that.' "

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